Compulsory education is part of China's educational policy. According to this policy, children between six and fifteen years of age must attend school, regardless of their gender, race or nationality. Tuition is not charged during the nine years of compulsory education (although parents must pay for books).
Compulsory education includes primary school and junior middle school. The length of each segment may vary: six-year primary school plus three-year junior middle school; five-year primary school plus four-year junior middle school; or nine years in the same school.
Primary and secondary education in China includes three stages: primary school, junior middle school and senior middle school, with a length of study of 12 years altogether. Generally, primary school is six years, junior middle school is three years and senior middle school is three years.
Primary and junior middle school education is compulsory. Children who have reached the age of six may enter primary school. In areas where junior middle school education is basically universal, students who have graduated from primary schools may advance to the appropriate junior middle schools without examination. Junior middle school graduates may enter senior middle schools after passing examinations set by the local education authorities.
Since the Compulsory Education Law of the PRC in 1986, governments at all levels have actively promoted nine-year compulsory education to remarkable success.